The Algarve is a stunning Portuguese region to visit. Its authentic seaside towns and villages, the cultural wealth that comes from being colonised by various countries, the varied local cuisine, the architectural heritage and the hospitality shown by its people make it a destination to explore soon.
In order to get around along the coast and enjoy total independence, the best method of transport remains the automobile.
The roads are in excellent condition and the coastal landscapes make the journey a time full of joy. Don’t wait any longer and plan a trip to southern Portugal, from Faro to Aljezur, as well as Tavira, Albufeira, Silves and Sagres.
Faro, the capital of the Algarve
Located in the extreme southern part of the country, Faro is a breath-taking architectural beauty. Its old town surrounded by a fortified Roman wall is an ideal place to take a leisurely walk. Stroll through the cobblestone streets and visit the city’s various sites. Don’t miss the Roman forum, the episcopal palace, the numerous theatres or the archaeological museum that’s housed in a former convent from the 16th century. During your stroll, go into one of the many restaurants and enjoy some local dishes. Let your taste buds savour a “cataplana”, an excellent dish made with seafood, which is typical of the region. Faro is also renowned for its beautiful golf courses, as well as its extensive well-kept sandy beach located on an island.
Tavira and its birds
Just outside of Faro, take the time to see the many wild birds housed in the Ria Formosa National Park. As you’ll learn, to visit the region and discover the “true Portugal”, some travel is required and having a car is ideal, as there are many places to stay. And what a pleasure it is to drive along the beautiful Mediterranean coast on the way to Tavira. This small city with 25,000 people will delight you with its charm. It’s a historic city, and it will be easy to notice the different eras that it has witnessed, including Roman and Moorish periods. Tavira is a peaceful city. Its little fishing port and modern market are juxtaposed with neighbourhoods that have a glorious past. Thus, at the turn of a maze of cobbled streets, you’ll find a Roman bridge, historic gardens and churches from different eras. Take advantage of one of the many shady places to sample some of the excellent seafood from the region.
Sagres, Albufeira, Silves…authentic cities
On the way to Sagres, make a stop in Albufeira.
A seaside resort in the region, the beaches there are beautiful and some are virtually untouched. You will find gorgeous coves, as well as strikingly beautiful, crystal clear turquoise water. And if you’re lucky, you may even encounter a dolphin! Next, head west to Silves. Its castle, one of the best preserved in the region, is one of the sites to visit. An ancient Phoenician trading post, and then the capital of the small Muslim Kingdom of Algarve, Silves is a small isolated, remote town, far from the hustle and bustle of the resorts. Take advantage of the peacefulness to enjoy one of the many local desserts, such as Dom Rodrigos or Colchão de Noiva. You’ll also be charmed by the hospitality and warmth of its people. All along your journey, you’ll notice many fields of almond, fig and olive trees, of which the country is a major producer.
Aljezur and its treasures
End your journey with the authentic village of Aljezur. Located in the back country, on the edge of the Vicentine Natural Park, you will be amazed by its Moorish architecture, its white houses and narrow lanes. A true favorite, this village between land and sea has stunning views of the ocean, as well as views of the countryside and the fields of the region. A true haven of peace. However, you have to do a little legwork to get to this destination. To reach this village of 5,000 people, you drive through winding roads lined with pine and eucalyptus trees. It’s a real treat for your eyes and nose. Don’t miss taking a side trip to the nearby beaches. Lined with spectacular black rocky cliffs, they are very popular with surfers. What’s more, the many colours of the dunes and lush vegetation will amaze you and eventually make you fall completely in love with this beautiful region known as the Algarve.